Let’s get starting with a small introduction, can you please tell us a bit about yourself, where do you come from?
My name is Chace Fedor, I grew up in Vancouver, Canada. I came to Japan five years ago, and I am now working in Tokyo as a creative director. I am now producer and creative director of poweredby.tokyo, a pro-active project by my company.
Were you doing something special in Canada?
Yeah, I was really into 90’s Ura-Hara* street culture and fashion; Hiroshi Fujiwara, Jun Takahashi etc… Japan was everything during that time.
Did you come to Japan in a spontaneous way?
No, I mean most foreigners have a their own particular pull to Japan. There are two distinct groups of foreigners here in Tokyo. The people who come here on transfer visas and expat packages without much interest or knowledge of the country. And then there are people like me who grew up with this deep-seated fascination with the place and lifelong interest in someday spending an extended amount of time in it.
It was like a dream coming true...
Yes totally. In my twenties, I always had an interest in moving to Japan and then one day, I woke up, and thought that if I don’t do it now, even if I turns out to be a failure, the attempt would be comforting enough. Canada and Japan have a working holiday visa agreement, so I got one, came over, and decided to stay.
So, you speak japanese fluently?
It’s a lifelong work in progress. Baby steps. Day by day. It’s such a complex language with all the speaking formalities. If you’re not careful, you can blow a business opportunity just by using the wrong tone of voice, depending on who you are speaking with and at what time of the day, but as learners i.e. foreigners, we are granted leniency.
Yeah I get it, it’s like New York City, if you are living in Manhattan or Brooklyn. And then, poweredby.tokyo got bigger.
Snowball effect. I remember the early days when I was contacting people and places to check if I could get a permission to shoot, and some of them said no naturally, but little by little, as I pounded the pavement, the snowball got bigger. All I had were my words and my network and this point. People and businesses, especially in Japan, are quite risk-averse. But once you get that one place or person involved with a level of prestige or respect, everyone else jumps on board.
So you feel that the creative community has accepted you?
That is the beauty of Tokyo, there is so much support and collaborative spirit in the community. From day one I had a lot of support, a lot of people believed in what I was doing. It’s cliché but I couldn’t have done it without them. Shouts to Tikini, Benji, and Vaughan haha. We all wanted the same thing; to create a more authentic image of Tokyo through our respective crafts and let things grow organically.
It feels that way! When you see the videos that goes with the text, there is a special atmosphere I don’t know how to describe it but you want to be a part of it...
Thanks! It’s been crazy, the feedback has been amazing ands beyond out expectations. It’s a dream to be able to work with Tokyo’s finest such as BEAMS, PEN magazine, and all the monumentally talented creators around us.
And how about settling up here, has it been difficult?
YIt’s an uphill battle. Coming here on your own wheel requires patience and perseverance. You have to want to be here. For me, Tokyo, and Japan in general offers things that are important to me personally, in regards to a quality lifestyle. The safety, the cleanliness, no violence or petty crime. I feel rested here. Only thing missing is a solid breakfast culture.
"Get everything important donein the morning before work and out of the way. The last thing we all want to do is study and exercise after a long day of work."
What’s your daily routine, a normal day for Chace?
At the office or in the field, directing shoots, general production stuff. And of course an unhealthy amount of meetings. As a creative director, I have to make sure that everything is in line with the brand’s language and identity. Approving things so that everything that the planners, producers, photographers, directors create matches the brand’s trajectory. I am responsible for business development and creative strategy in terms of what’s coming next.
Video content is a strong focus right now. We all have our own specific vision and perspective of Tokyo, and I think Filmmaking is the most authentic, honest, and sensitive medium to capture and tell stories through. I want the individual, the creator, of any kind, to be just as much part of the story we’re telling. So I want to grant as much creative control as possible to our contributors.
What about Powered by Tokyo tell us about this project how did it started?
We started this project on our own. We started the project because we wanted something with more passion, more creative control & integrity. We came with the idea of uniting the creative and business communities as well as build a bridge between the Japanese & the foreign communities. We saw a window of opportunity with Tokyo being becoming really trendy with the Olympics and social media exposure. All of this attracts a corporate interest to capitalize. There a few government initiatives and big box effort to promote and brand Tokyo that somehow came off as insincere and out of touch. They weren’t communicating the Tokyo we know and love. Where Tokyo really shines in its distinctcommunities and deep urban diversity. You can walk from one neighborhood to another and it feels like a different city. I really wanted to captured and communicate this feeling. And it goes without saying it’s theinhabitants that create the unique atmospheres and life of each neighborhood. We want to tell their stories. There are so many areas to live in Tokyo, and all are so unique, so their is a certain identity and tribalism attached to where you choose to reside. If you tell me you live in Nakameguro or Ginza, I have a fairly accurate picture of your style and lifestyle, superficially speaking.
Yeah and it is easier to focus on working…
Exactly. Tokyo is a strange paradox; it is one of the busiest city in the world but very cold, distant, and disconnected at the same time. This is specific to Tokyo’s urban culture, it’s not a Japanese thing. If you go to Osaka, for example, people are quite warm and outgoing. With that said, Tokyo suits my work and lifestyle.
There are different kind of creative people featured on poweredby.tokyo, is there any particular criteria on how you pick them?
Anybody whose craft or whatever they are doing is done with passion and is in some way pushing culture forwardis a perfect fit. Anything that connects with us and has a story that we feel needs to be shared.
What’s the best advice you ever received?
Get everything important done in the morning before work and out of the way. The last thing we all want to do is study and exercise after a long day of work.
And did you apply this advice yet?
Trying my best! But honestly, I’ve learned the rules by observing people I respect the most and everything comes down to morning productivity. You know like going to the gym, preparing a healthy breakfast, reading the news, studying a new language, taking your kids to school or walking the dog. I promise, all the people who are on the level I want to be, they all wake up at 6 am and do a million things in the morning before even stepping foot in the office. Constant, exponential growth. There’s an expression ‘A year from now you’ll regret not starting today’. So if I can give advice it would be - no matter what you want to accomplish or excel at in your life and in the future, do whatever it takes, but most importantly, start today and do a little bit every morning.